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Crouch never had Chelsea contact before attention switched to 'division's second-best looking target man'

The Stoke striker emerged as a shock target for the Blues during the January window, but Antonio Conte eventually landed Olivier Giroud from Arsenal.

PETER CROUCH SAYS there was “never any strong interest” shown in him by Chelsea before attention switched to Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.

The Stoke frontman emerged as a surprise target for the Blues as they sought to bolster their attacking ranks during the January transfer window.

Several options were considered by those at Stamford Bridge, with Antonio Conte in the market for a physical presence to complement and compete with Alvaro Morata.

On deadline day, Giroud crossed London from north to west, with Crouch conceding that he was never really in the running against “the division’s second-best looking target man.”

The 37-year-old former England international wrote in a column for the Daily Mail: “So there I was, sat at home a couple of weeks ago, when my phone started to beep and I heard I was trending on Twitter.

“I didn’t expect to see my name linked with Chelsea but that was the situation. It was all speculation, I suppose.

“Of course it was nice to get linked with a club of that stature — particularly as they were the club I used to watch when I was a kid — but I didn’t think much more about it.

“There was never any strong interest. I heard Antonio Conte quite likes me as a player but I was only ever concentrating on Stoke. I didn’t expect anything to happen and, as it turns out, Chelsea have gone on to make a great signing.

“I’ve always admired Olivier Giroud. He is France’s No 9, he’s been to the World Cup and the Euros and worn that shirt with distinction.

“He’s a top striker and maybe he didn’t get as many chances as he deserved at Arsenal.

“I’d go as far as to say they got themselves the division’s second best looking target man.”

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Crouch has been with Stoke since 2011, making over 200 appearances for the club.

He has passed the 100 Premier League goal mark while with the Potters and committed to a new contract in November 2017.

A desire to play at the highest level until the age of 40 has previously been expressed, with it possible that Crouch could have many more meetings with Chelsea and Giroud to come before he hangs up his boots.

‘I was thinking about what I was going to do if I wasn’t going to be a footballer’

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